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Moving Forward in a Complex Hyper-connected World

Part of a report at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wKo6_0vAtuURdUViWH0RPpweEINva3j2CX8RmTGxT4M/edit

Cassandra Williamson

on 30 May 2015

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Transcript of Moving Forward in a Complex Hyper-connected World

Designing a Future in a Complex Adaptive World
"When people interact, complexity emerges."
Non-natural Complex Systems
Other Natural Systems
Moving forward in a complex Hyper-connected World
The Human Agent
There's nothing secretive about the human agent. Each human is a complex adaptive system of systems: cells interacting, neurons firing causing a cascade of more neurons to fire in an explosion of activity, left brain, right brain, all complex systems within the human agent - Not very secret though.
The human agent is a bio-complex adaptive
system capable of creating non-natural
complex systems: society, neighborhoods,
communities, economic systems, military systems, trade & commerce systems, governments, businesses, religions, and organizations of all types.

These are man-made complex systems that
would cease to exist without the
human agent - the individuals - acting
together in an emergent fashion.
Human agents are members and creators of non-natural systems, but there are also natural systems in which all humans exists and on which human agents are dependent: the environment, resources, the non-sentient biosphere, the climate, the planet.

This class of natural system can exist without human involvement, or even the need for humans at all, but humans need these systems for their survival. The human agent is thus a sub-system of the global natural system - all without regard to the non-natural systems man has created.
Hierarchy of Systems
Global systems - all other systems depend on
the survival of this system.


The Human Agent as a System creates the
non-natural systems in which humans interact with other humans and with the
global systems.

Non-natural Systems - created by humans, would not exist without humans.
Future Quest
Alice said to the Cheshire Cat,
“If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will do.”
[Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll]
Every person interacts with others through numerous systems. The frequency and number of interactions by humans with humans is accelerating from all levels of society locally, regionally and globally. Most of the systems are connected to other systems around the world regardless of traditional lines and borders created by other older complex systems.

As the interactions accelerate globally, then those systems that once moved toward an objective or goal or vision within traditional systems now require coordination, cooperation and vision design/planning globally so that the individual human agents are engaged, successful, secure and prosperous locally.
The world is a Complex Adaptive System
of many interacting systems of people.
Follow this link for the full report: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wKo6_0vAtuURdUViWH0RPpweEINva3j2CX8RmTGxT4M/edit
Global Systems
Human Agents
Non-natural systems
Global Systems
Human Agents
Human Agents
ties back to the
global systems
goes beyond
Exists by and at the design and discretion of people
State 'A'
State 'B'
People in
State 'A'
People in
State 'B'
At the top of the hierarchy. Has the following sub-systems"
Energy sources (solar, terrestrial)
Other natural resources
Non-sentient biodiversity
Human agents depend upon the Global Systems and are part of it, but the Global Systems can exist without humans.
Interactions between people, systems, networks, resources, non-natural systems, global systems.
Religious systems
Cultural systems
Interactions between human agents
and between the natural and non-natural systems contained in global systems require a new way of thinking, planning and leadership.
Next Generation: thinking, planning, leading (bottom-up)
A new paradigm shift as people connect across traditional lines, as they influence others across those same lines.
Where do we want to be by this time?
Why indeed?
All complex adaptive systems, and systems of systems, have resilience, emergence, self-organization, evolvability and innovability, and they function near the edge of chaos.
These properties mean that regardless of whether the human agents and their systems have plans or not, progress will be made toward an outcome. Generally, these outcomes are sub-optimal - meaning just barely good enough to be a better choice than other options without having expended any more energy than necessary to get there. Sub-optimal outcomes are emergent, but are also one of an infinite number of possible outcomes. No new thinking, planning or leadership is required to get to this type of future.

However, with influence from within systems, by relying upon the skills and abilities of the individual human agents, using subtle leadership strategies, all guided by a very long range vision or plan or purpose, the possible outcomes can be narrowed and guided. The Human Agents in this type of system can move all their natural and non-natural systems forward toward a purpose - they can then do big things, visionary things, that could not be done before while alone or in smaller disconnected systems.
Our global connections will have grown exponentially.
EXAMPLE: We should be a quarter of the way toward building two self-sufficient cities of 100,000 people on Mars.
With all of mankind connected as never before seen across all former traditional lines, state lines are blurred and our program on Mars is half way to completion.
What has this vision done? Lifted up our people, created a sustainable economy, engaged people everywhere, protected our common global systems, given purpose and direction, all from the bottom-up.
Read the full report at
This is an ongoing CAS. It is dependent upon the knowledge and skill of many great thinkers and meta-cognitive human agents around the world.

I especially want to thank Brig. Gen (Ret) Wayne Michael Hall. His papers, books and very probing and insightful emails continue to be invaluable in shaping this work, and my thought processes; though that process will end only at the end, whenever that may be.

I also wish to acknowledge the team at the CASOS Engineering Center at Sandia National Labs, and Dr. Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel Physicist at the Santa Fe Institute for his work on complexity. There are many others listed in the report and in the bibliography section at the end.

Now let’s get to work educating, enlightening and influencing people everywhere.
This is by no means a finished work: More to come as I learn more from other experts in this field and the many other connected fields.
Property of
Timothy Williamson
Jan 2013
Full transcript